…..God gives us salvation, life, love, and everything we need up front, including a purpose in this world. It is his gift to us (See Romans 6:23). When we realize this down in the depth of our bones, we then naturally live a life that expresses our gratitude by loving God and others. To do otherwise would be false and forced.
Religious people miss this message and turn to the rituals and regulations, ethics and activities prescribed to them as a way to achieve what God has already offered them as a gift. In so doing, they miss the life of God and fail to satisfy their spiritual thirst.
Picture a thirsty person holding a cup of water. Now picture that person licking the outside of the cup in an attempt to quench his thirst. That is a picture of religion. Religious people tend to focus on the cup and forget about the contents. They argue about which cup is best and forget to drink from any. Some cups are ornate and some are simple. People are attracted to different kinds, yet none of them will quench your thirst. I’m not saying there is no refreshment to be found within any one cup, only that religion itself is not what refreshes. In fact, when we think we have found the , we should probably throw it away, because we have already confused the contents with the container, substance with structure, faith with form. Faith can be expressed in many forms, but the form is not what satisfies. The Bible calls this process of confusing form with substance “idolatry,” and it happens to well-meaning people all the time.
(from The End of Religion)
- Religion vs. relationship! (part 2) (melsmind.wordpress.com)
- The Practice of His Presence (paulburkhart.wordpress.com)
- Jesus the Christ: Model of Spirituality and Volunteerism (blogcritics.org)